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Preparing Your Workplace for COVID-19

Preparing Your Workplace for COVID-19




Considering the spread of COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus), steps should be taken to reduce its impact on employers, employees, customers, and the public in general. OSHA has developed this resource to help identify risk levels in the workplace and determine appropriate control measures.

Staying Informed
Employers are encouraged to keep up with the latest information concerning the outbreak in your respective geographic area(s). Information to consider may include protective measures, updated situation summaries, cases in the United States, global locations with COVID-19, travel advice, and risk assessments. Sources for this information may include the following:

Preventative Measures to Implement

  • Encourage employees and contract workers to STAY AT HOME if they are sick
  • Develop flexible, non-punitive leave policies for employees who are sick or have family members who are sick
  • Do not require a “Doctor’s Note” for employees who are sick with COVID-19 symptoms
  • Remind employees to cover their coughs and sneezes
  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing and ensure employees, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands
  • Provide employees, customers, and worksite visitors with ample supplies of tissues and no-touch trash receptacles
  • Discourage employees from using other employees’ phones, desks, offices or other work tools and equipment when possible
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment along with other areas of the worksite
  • Have an isolation area ready in the event an employee becomes sick and can’t immediately leave the workplace
  • Consider offering face masks to ill employees and customers until they are able to leave the workplace
  • Continue to provide up-to-date information to employees on COVID-19 as it develops

Train or Retrain Employees on:

  • The signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • The process of reporting sickness in your workplace
  • The location(s) for isolation areas for sick employees who are unable to immediately leave the workplace
  • How to effectively restrict access to quarantined areas

Other Ways to Reduce Your Risk

  • Consider minimizing contact among employees, clients, and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communications and implement telecommuting if possible
  • Establish alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time
  • Discontinue nonessential travel
  • Develop emergency communication plans, including a forum for answering employee concerns
  • Provide resources that promote personal hygiene such as:
    • Tissues
    • No-touch trash receptacles
    • Hand soap
    • Alcohol-based hand rubs that contain at least 60% alcohol
    • Disinfectants
    • Disposable towels to clean work surfaces
    • Post handwashing reminders in bathrooms and other areas

Reviewing this information as well as visiting any of the links provided will give you current information on the risk of COVID-19 and protective measures. As with any safety or health concern, it is important that you understand the exposure, make plans to mitigate the risk, train employees on best practices, and conduct regular inspections to can identify and correct any gaps that may exist in your prevention efforts.

Management and staff should receive regular training on protective measures, why these measures are important, and how your organization will work together to remain safe and healthy.

For specific questions regarding how to minimize the risk of spreading communicable diseases such as COVID-19 in your workplace, contact KEMI’s Loss Control & Safety team at safety [at] kemi [dot] com or call 1-800-640-KEMI (5364).